By JASON SMITH
For the News-Register
Hyder Family Dental had to battle some warm weather and poor fielding, but still managed to grab a win in one of the three games they played at the Hyder Invitational Tournament, held at Roy Helser Field at Linfield College.
It was a rough start for the McMinnville OIBA squad, as errors overshadowed an excellent hitting display in an 8-6 loss to Southridge Friday afternoon.
The Grizzlies started strong with four runs at the top of the second inning to take a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the inning, where Southridge tied the game. In the fifth inning, the Skyhawks scored four runs to put the game out of reach for Hyder. The Grizzlies put up two more runs at the top of the seventh inning before the comeback attempt was thwarted.
Geovanni Esparza led the way at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with three singles and an RBI. He was helped by Adrian Uscanga (1-for-2, RBI) and Riley McAnally (2-for-3, RBI).
Garrett Scales picked up the loss on the mound for Hyder.
In Friday’s afternoon game, the Grizzlies played hard but couldn’t muster much run support, only scoring a single run in the sixth inning before falling to West Salem, 5-1.
The lack of runs spoiled a strong pitching performance by Jesse Ehrhart, who struck out seven batters before being relieved by Nathan Leid late in the game. The Grizzlies were led at the plate by Brad Hessel who finished 2-for-3. He was helped by Jacob Fong, who was 1-for-2 and drove in McMinnville’s only run.
Hyder Family Dental coach Jordan Harlow “Offensively the guys were pretty sharp; I think that in both those losses pitching and defense was kind of where we struggled,” Hyder Family Dental coach Jordan Harlow said. “We struggled to throw strikes at times; we struggled to make plays when we needed to. Offensively, I was pleased.”
On Saturday, McMinnville overcame the errors that troubled them in the first two games and got plenty of run support to back up the strong pitching as the Grizzlies scored four runs in both the third and sixth innings to jump out to a big lead. Canby made a fight of it in the final inning where the Grizzlies held on for a 9-8 victory.
McMinnville’s bats were led by David Brosius, who was 2-for-5 with three RBI, and Esparza (1-for-3, two RBI). Uscanga went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Lane Hessel got on base four times against Canby, going 2-for-3 with one walk. Hessel was also hit by a pitch and recorded a stolen base.
Walter Stahl kept Canby’s bats quiet until he was relieved by Uscanga late in the game. In the final inning, pitching mistakes and fielding errors almost caught up to Hyder Family Dental as Canby scored four runs before finally bowing out.
Sunday’s game against the Salem Senators was canceled due to inclement weather.
Hyder Family Dental must now wait for its assignment in the OIBA state playoffs, which begin Friday. Location and opponent are to be determined.